I have always dreamed of going to London. I can now check London off my bucket list. It was everything I had dreamed it all these years. I fell madly in love with London.
The trip started off on a stressful level. My roommate and I were trying to catch the 8:00pm Renfe train to the Barcelona airport, however at 7:57pm we were just arriving at our friends house to pick her up. We frantically jumped into a cab and had him take us to the train station, although he brought us to the wrong station! We were running around the streets of Barcelona with our suitcases trying to find the station. We finally found it but had missed the 8:00pm train but luckily made it just in time to catch the next train. Eventually we made it to the airport on time and caught our flight. We arrived in London and to our surprise they had a great deal of security. Every other place we have traveled to in Europe allows you to leave the airport without going through customs. However, this was not the case in London. When we made it up to the customs desk, they grilled us with questions as to what we were doing in London, how long we were there for and who we are traveling with, etc. We were all so excited to now have a stamp from London on our passports. We then caught the bus from the Standsted airport into the city. By the time we arrived in the city and met up with my roommates friends there, it was 2:00am and we were exhausted. We went right to sleep since we had a huge day ahead of us the following day.
The next day was filled with tons of site seeing. We started off the day by walking along the water to get to the London Eye. At this point, I was ecstatic. From the London Eye, we could see Parliament and Big Ben. It was such a beautiful view. We made our way over to Parliament and Big Ben and my roommate and I had to take a picture in front of Big Ben. It looked just like it does in movies. I was beaming with excitement. Up next was Westminster Abbey. I was surprised by its size. It is much smaller in person than it is on television shows. We had such little time to see all the different places in London so we decided to skip going inside Westminster Abbey in order to save time. Next time I make it back to London and have more time, I definitely want to go inside Westminster Abbey. After Westminster Abbey, we jumped onto the big red buses that London is so well known for and used it for transportation to get us to Buckingham Palace. I had always wanted to ride on one of these buses just like they do in some of my favorite movies. It was so much fun. My roommate was making fun of me for how excited I was getting at all these places, but I did not care. I was just so happy that I was finally in London!
I love Kate Middleton and the royal family. I knew realistically I was not going to get to see or meet Kate, although a girl can dream. When we arrived at Buckingham Palace, I instantly began snapping photographs. Buckingham Palace is so big and beautiful. I was disappointed however when I did not see the guards standing inside their booths outside of the palace. In all the movies I have seen that are filmed in London, the guards stand outside the palace, straight faced while people come up to them and try to get them to laugh or smile. I had planned out all my jokes and what I was going to say and do when it was my turn to talk to the guard. I was bummed I did not get the chance to see the guards up close and personal, although I am assuming they no longer stand outside the gate for security purposes. The guards now stand inside the gate, close to the entrance of the actual palace. After Buckingham Palace, we walked through Hyde Park. After a very bust morning, it was nice to slow down, relax and stroll through Hyde Park. I am from the West Coast, so I was in awe of seeing the colorful fall trees. The sun was setting and projecting such beautiful light on the trees. Hyde Park has a pond where people were feeding the birds and it was so calm and peaceful. All that walking stirred up our appetite, so we went to this delicious restaurant, Gourmet Burger Kitchen. I highly recommend this place. They had great food. You go up to the register to order and then the staff brings you your meal. While you wait, they offer you free peanuts. The restaurant had such a cute atmosphere and was very welcoming. It felt so great to sit down after walking non-stop for hours. When we finished our meal, we were very tired from such a wonderful, yet busy day. We headed home, got into bed, watched a movie and had a much needed, early night.
Day three in London. We woke up and headed to Camden Market. I could have spent all day here shopping and looking around. So many people were out and crowding the streets. There was such a high energy felt and everyone seemed to be having a great time. We went into so many of the stores, which is where I got many of my gifts and souvenirs for my friends and family back home. They also had outdoor vendors where all kinds of jewelry was being sold. One of the great things about the Camden Market is that you can bargain to get the products you want at a much lower price. There were so many more stores that I did not get the chance to see, so I cannot wait to go back and explore Camden Market next time I am in London. I highly suggest visiting Camden Market, but make sure you allow yourself some time to spend there because there is so much to see and do there.
From Camden Market, we caught the bus and headed to Abbey Road. I have always wanted to recreate the picture that the Beatles took crossing Abbey Road, however I did not realize how difficult this was going to be.
Abbey Road is a main street so cars are constantly driving on this road and do not care if the tourist want to stop and take pictures. They block traffic. Therefore we had to find the perfect timing to snap the photograph in between cars. This was so hard to do and people ended up honking at us, so eventually we gave up. In addition, we went there at night so the pictures we did take did not turn out that well. I was so sad I did not get to perfectly reenact this photograph, but I guess it is just another reason why I have to go back to London.
After Abbey Road, we went to the London Bridge and the London Tower, which are located right next to each other. The London Bridge was spectactualar at night. It was all lit up and such a beauty. My friends and I had a great time taking pictures with the London Bridge in the background. We had the opportunity to see the outside of the London Tower, although we did not have enough time to go inside. I really wanted to see the crown jewels exhibit inside the London Tower, but I will have to check it out next visit.
Up next was Oxford Street. This is where all the great shopping can be done. There were so many people out on the streets. Since Christmas and the holidays are approaching, Oxford Street was all lit up with Christmas lights and Christmas decorations. It was so much fun walking around and seeing all of this. I would have also loved to spend more time exploring Oxford Street, but unfortunately we ran out of time.
I had the best weekend in London. I was not ready to come back to Barcelona. There was still so much I wanted to do and see. I loved the city. If I had to pick one place in Europe to live, I would choose London. It reminded me so much of Los Angeles, San Fransisco and New York, all combined into one. I cannot wait to go back and spend more time there! London is a must see and a place everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime.